Grief, Legacy and Advance Care Plans

Connecting what donors want their gifts to do and what they want their legacy to be is at the heart of what Saskatoon Community Foundation does every day. We are trusted to carry out these plans on behalf of our donors.

The uncertainty, illness, and loss of life we have seen during the pandemic have made us pause and think about death and dying, what is most important in life, and how we would like to be remembered. In my role as philanthropic advisor, I bring together the philosophical and the pragmatic.

For me, this excerpt from a Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) blog post by Leigh Naturkach, Senior Director of Philanthropy and Legacy Giving, Women’s College Hospital Foundation*, struck a chord. Her article caused me to think. After a year of having so much to think about, I hope these thoughts on grief, legacy, connection, and sharing with loved ones resonate with you, too.

– Jen Pederson, CFRE, Philanthropic Advisor

Being present in grief

The past year has taught us to be more grounded and less rushed. As we grieve, we receive and give comfort through practicing mindfulness, connecting with our environment, and observing our emotions.

Just listening

By practicing active listening, we make others feel understood. Instead of offering solutions, we are simply acknowledging someone’s grief or suffering and holding space for them.

Grief is part of being alive

Emotions are complex, normal, and necessary for humans, and for animals too: fear, shock, anxiety, sadness, and more. By learning about the many forms and types of grief and loss, we can validate these feelings. However, we must understand when prolonged shock or paralyzing grief requires professional counselling.

Open conversations

You can have conversations with your loved ones about what matters most in life and death. By approaching conversations while doing shared activities, by asking positive questions, or by trying various times, we can learn each other’s wishes. This includes requests,
fears, quality of life decisions, and who is best to speak on our behalf. Open conversations now can mean better informed decisions later.

The benefit of ritual

Ritual and tradition are part of our individual and collective spiritual experiences and give us ways to understand significant transitions in life. These may include food, music, candles, verse, or other cultural practices.

Humour and grief

As we go through the grieving process, humour can allow us to remember more fully the whole person we are missing. Eulogies sometimes include sweet and funny memories that paint a picture of who they were during their lifetime.

What’s your legacy?

Our legacy is simply who we are, every day, through our contributions, our values, and our relationships. Legacy can also be described in a formal way through advance care plans that ensure our values are realized. These plans include wills, medical directives, substitute
decision makers, personal care, end of life and post death preferences. The process of creating advance care plans gives great help and comfort to our loved ones for the future.

*Excerpt from CAGP blog post by Leigh Naturkach.

Getting Started: Contact our Philanthropic Advisor Jen Pederson at 306-665-9880 to find out how Saskatoon Community Foundation can help you create your legacy.

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